Jigar Shah, Partner, Inerjys Fund
The most difficult issue facing solar today is the looming global trade war started by SolarWorld. At a time that solar is emerging as a cost effective solution for over 20 percent of global electricity sales, we have to stay on track for cost reduction and quality improvements.
Tariffs at any point in the global solar value chain are counterproductive and make solar less competitive against fossil fuels. Disruptions in the free flow of solar goods will raise prices, eliminate jobs and hurt businesses at every level of the global solar industry. We urge all countries to avoid unilateral actions that impede trade and resolve conflicts in a bilateral or multilateral context. Lowering, not artificially raising, the cost of solar should be a global goal.
Another important issue is solar grid integration. We have the technology to integrate solar at high penetration rates in most parts of the world, but solar installations will slow down in some important countries until we establish consensus in the U.S.
Moving forward we must figure out how we exempt solar from these costly tariffs through negotiated regional trade settlements outside of the trade court process. We also must convene the smartest solar folks and start engaging utilities on how to accommodate distributed generation at scale. Lastly, we need to devote many more resources on sales and marketing in the emerging economies. With high diesel usage, solar is cost effective without subsidies.
Jigar Shah is an entrepreneur and visionary committed to leveraging the next economy by solving the challenging issues of our time. Shah has recognized this as “The Impact Economy,” also the title of his upcoming book. Jigar was the founder of SunEdison and CEO of the Carbon War Room.